Lay summary
Our project focuses on the question how firms and their employees find a provider for job training services. Although job training and continuous learning is considered a crucial part of modern economic systems we have little knowledge about the process of human capital production. That is especially true for the process taking place in firms which bear the largest share of investment cost in respect to human capital. For example, Swiss firms invest on average between CHF 700 and CHF 5.400 a year for each employee. Here the problems arises that on the one hand an internal training staff is most often to expensive and not profitable, on the other hand the market for external job training services is extremely opaque in respect to quality.

That leads to the question how firms deal with this situation of uncertainty and insufficient information. Theoretically training services can be seen as “trust goods”: For those goods it is not possible for the consumer to evaluate the quality in advance. Based on different theories - like organizational theories, economic models or network theories - several possible solutions to this problem can be derived. Which firms are employing which of those strategies is subject of theoretical as well as empirical analysis. The later will be based on a survey of firms and their human resource managers in Switzerland. The results will be valuable for the development of theories as well as recommendations for firms dealing with those problems.

This project is a cooperation between Prof. Dr. Martin Abraham, University of Bern (www.soz.unibe.ch) and Prof. UAS Jürg Arpagaus, Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences Switzerland (www.kalaidos-fh.ch).